Didier Barral represents the thirteenth generation to grow grapes in the tiny hamlet of Lenthéric, within the confines of the Faugères appellation deep in the heart of the Languedoc. While his forebears made a living off of cultivating the vine, Didier took the family business to the next level when he began estate-bottling and commercializing his wines on a larger scale in 1993. Named for Didier's grandfather, Domaine Léon Barral is a beacon of revolutionary winegrowing: shortly after founding the domaine, Didier decided that biodynamic practices were the best choice for farming his thirty hectares of vineyards. He has pioneered numerous innovative agronomic techniques with the goal of establishing his vineyards as a self-sustaining ecosystem. This Renaissance man, naturalist, and biodynamic expert commands tremendous respect among his peers for his visionary approach to topics like soil management, pest control, and drought mitigation in his vineyards.
Didier Barral is one of the champions of the biodynamic movement in France and is highly respected among his peers for his uncompromising respect for the environment in which he lives and works—meaning the entire ecosystem surrounding his vineyards. Didier’s red Faugères, grown in rugged schist soil, displays power, rusticity, and incredibly fresh, pure fruit. Treat it as you would the wines of Gramenon and Magnon—organic, living beings that demand care and respect. His Faugères ages beautifully in a good cellar.
A superb biodynamic wine, La Valinière is a blend of 80% Mourvèdre and 20% Syrah and is one of the finest wines to emerge from the south of France in the past few years. Maceration takes place for 3 to 4 weeks with regular, manual punch-downs in cement tanks. After maceration, the must is lightly pressed with an old, wooden, vertical basket press. This wine is aged for 24 to 26 months in barrel (10% new oak). The Syrah in this cuvée comes from a north-facing parcel of vines.
Didier Barral produces wines of great depth and character, of which La Valinière is a typical example. As with many Mourvèdre-dominated wines, La Valinière is intense and velvety with savoury and 'gamey' flavours. There are also notes of cloves and cinammon. The Syrah completes the package by contributing black fruit and a touch of pepper. The acidity and tannins are well balanced making this an ideal food wine.